… what is it today to think or to imagine, to construct or to design, in relation not to “things made” but to “things in the making”?… To think about things in the making is… to think, and think of ourselves, ‘experimentally’. – John Rajchman
What really exists is not the things made but things in the making. Once made, they are dead…. – William James
I have left the Netherlands and am on my way home via Malaysia & Singapore. After spending 2 or 3 days away from my home of 5 months, I have realised that I’m in sort of a mourning stage. I downright miss Holland and the people and the life I had there. Since I have been busy moving around a lot – stopping in Singapore & Malaysia, finishing the history thesis, last minute studio work, etc – I haven’t had time to really consider and gain closure from leaving the place. Right now, the big wide world has shrunk and I particularly enjoy this feeling.
I have the specific urge to write about my time at T?F because it has been the 3rd night within 5 nights that I have had a dream or nightmare about my semester at the design studio studio- Automatic City. I’m not sure if frequently dreaming about the studio is a healthy sign, none-the-less, the dreams/ nightmare have certainly put me in a ruminative mood.
The first two REM state visions were dreams born from the negative frustrations I had (and other students) of the studio’s open endlessness, the ambiguity, the sporadic neglect from advisers and the lack of a individual end product that I could include in a folio.The nightmares were frantic, violent, dark & full of unsatisfying infuriation, and involved all the people within the studio. When I woke from these ‘nightmares’, I had a good laugh at its comic-parody-like narrative of the dream and joked about it with a fellow studio member.
But the latest dream I just had (not nightmare), was born of the positive experiences and awakened me to the sides of the studio I will miss. So whilst I have spent a good amount of time with fellow architecture students muttering begrudgingly about the studio’s issues – which I’ve mentioned above – it’s about time I let the positives emerge.
Let me digress to first explain that this architecture studio is not a conventional one. It is not a studio based on buildings or structures. We did not once have a building site, discuss the climatic aspects, the construction realities, the overriding ‘concept’ of the building, etc. No, we discussed more philosophical things through research and touched on the future of automation, the matrix, singularity, the virtual, the nature and process of envisioning future cities from dreams versus envisioning future cities from grounded research and questioning what role automation has in our lives now and in the future?
Bio-mimicry, bio-technology, nano-technology, swarm robotics, trans formative structures – we covered all these topics and attempted to dream of a future ‘reality’. We did not produce one building from this studio and that fact alone makes me happy.
I could elaborate profusely about the studio, but with the danger of boring most of you, I will just outline the positives from my experience at T?F and what it is, exactly, that I will miss.
First and foremost what I will miss was the open-minded people and open-minded studio. The tutors, professors and half of the student cohort (not all) were quite the intelligent bunch. In fact, I’ve never had such intelligent tutors before (I should mention that I don’t exactly go to MIT, RMIT or any renowned (architectural) institutes.), nor have I been under such a visionary professor. The beauty of this studio was that pretty much any topic could emerge within a discussion. The architectural studios, I have been in, would banish this type of conversation and render it ‘un-architectural, irrelevant and too philosophical’. In this studio, the conversation wasn’t limited. Everything is architecture. I must admit that I kept quiet in lots of discussion because of lot of the topics and references were new to me, but found them utterly fascinating, none-the-less.
The fact that we didn’t produce a piece of work that could go in an architecture folio doesn’t bother me like it does other students. This is mainly because I view the architectural profession, now, as one big rat race on a treadmill that goes nowhere and as such the nature of producing computer generated renders, virtual models, monumental architecture, aestheticized panels doesn’t interest me too much. I would rather develop my intellectual capabilities and, indeed, the studio did just that. Within this studio I have heard discussions that have completely dug away at a new depth of architectural thought and thinking that I have never uncovered before. For this fact alone, I am incredibly thankful.
The dreams I have been having have had me desperately desiring some urgent closure to the frayed studio. The studio pre-dominantly feels like the conversation hasn’t ended. Like there is still so much more to uncover and unravel. There was never any finality to our studio or project. We presented our final presentation and then it all abruptly ended. Now what? Where’s the post-presentation reconnaissance? The postmortem?
My dreams have certainly elucidated these feelings of the little-closure I have. Perhaps it is because I have left the Netherlands and have left the studio that I feel this way? Perhaps it is because I feel like I haven’t had my time there, like it was cut short? I’m not sure why it is I feel this way, either way I do have a big sense that my time there hasn’t ended.
All, in all – I will miss the studio and am ruined to go back to any conventional architecture studios.